Journals Higher Education



Published: 01 November 1998

224 Pages

ISBN: 9781874774297

Bookseller Code (06)

Victorian Jews Through British Eyes

Anne Cowen and Roger Cowen

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization in association with Liverpool University Press

When Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, Britain was home to only 30,000 Jews and they did not yet have full political rights. By the end of the century their numbers had increased about sevenfold, and practising Jews had taken their places in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Victoria's reign therefore saw a tremendous change in the profile of Jews within British society. The Victorian period was also one of economic transition for British Jews. While initially in a narrow range of predominantly working-class or marginal occupations with only a small upper-class elite, Jews became increasingly middle-class during these years; they began to enter the professions, and to move from inner London to fashionable suburbs. Increasingly, Britain's Jews were British-born and of British descent, and proclaimed their loyalty to British ideals. From 1881 on, however, the position changed dramatically: a mass of Jewish immigrants arriving from Russia, made conspicuous by their foreign dress, appearance, language, and habits, prompted the emergence of an 'Aliens Question' into the British political arena.


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